Mercury flying after Jean de Bologne
Bronze with black patina on a cylindrical base decorated with a bas-relief after Clodion.
Mercury is the god of commerce in Roman mythology. He holds in his right hand a well-stocked purse and a caduceus in his left hand, a sign of his eminent function.
He is also the messenger of the gods. He is wearing a helmet and winged sandals for this purpose allowing him to move quickly.
He is propelled into the air by a baby blower, his arm raised towards the sky where the gods reside.
Jean de Bologne is a Mannerist sculptor of Flemish origin born in 1529 and died in Florence in 1608.
Born Jeahn Boulongne, his name is Italianised in Giovanni Bologna which was later contracted in Giambologna.
Known by numerous reductions and by several prints including that of the Bargello, the Mercure of Jean de Bologne seems to be the expression of mannerist sculpture. Translating into three dimensions the bold silhouette of the Mercury painted by Raphael for the Farnésine villa at the beginning of the 16th century, the work is characteristic of this international style that draws from the classical Renaissance repertoire: gracile and juvenile body, elongated cannon, small head, position at the limit of the rupture of balance inspired by the ballet created at the court of the Medici, multiplication of the angles of view, integration in a landscape. The success of the style of Jean de Bologna, originally from Douai but who spent his entire career in Florence, at the court of the Medici, is due to the diffusion by his workshop (Antonio Susini, Pietro Tacca, Pierre de Franqueville) many discounts offered by the Medici as diplomatic gifts.